Essay Help On Role of Humour in Persuasion


Nowadays, use of humour has become a common thing to ensure the right delivery of message in persuasion (Martin,Business Assignment Help 2007). Organizations whether working at small level or large level prefer to use humour in their advertisements to ensure proper effect on the target audiences. By considering the widespread use of humour in persuasion, there will be discussion of humour in persuasion effectiveness, risks of using humour in persuasion and theories of persuasion. Along with this, impact of humour on the effectiveness of persuasion will be also covered.

Role of Humour

Humour plays a great role in ensuring the effectiveness of persuasion due to its universal admiration effects. Affiliative and pro-social humour is useful for persuasion. As per case study essay help experts, Following are several aspects that reflect the effectiveness of using humour in persuasion:

Building rapport: Humour helps in developing rapport with target market by making them more disposed towards the agent.

Encourage target market: Use of humour also assists in encouraging the target to attend the message more closely. In other words, it enhances the attentiveness and engagement of target market that is useful in increasing effectiveness of persuasion of message (Hargie et al, 2009).

Relaxation and receptivity: Humour use in persuasion also develops relaxation feeling within the target. Along with this, receptivity to the message is also enhanced by humour. As a result of this, target markets are more influenced and persuaded towards the intended message.

Increase retention: Using humour in persuasion also increases retention of message by ensuring its impact more memorable for the target audiences.

Address Cognitive Spaces: Humour use in terms of jokes, funny things etc fill the cognitive space. It is so, as when individuals laugh, they forget about the counterarguments.

Peripheral Processing: Use of humour in persuasion also increases peripheral processing of message. In other words, humour use enhances a feel good factor among target market about the message that is persuasive at high extent. Humour develops positive mood of audiences that that reduces chances of their disagreement with the message like in advertisements. Moreover, it increases the liking of listeners about the product being advertised. So, it can be argued that humour also acts as peripheral cue for the audiences.

Convey shared values: Humour use in persuasion increases liking for the message by spreading shared values among target market (Martin, 2007). As a result of this, the source becomes more credible for the target audiences that enhance the effectiveness of persuasion.

Increase trustworthiness: Use of humour in persuasion also increases the perception that there is less personal investment in the message outcome, which enhances trustworthiness of audiences in the source.

Emotional effect: Humour use in persuasion also has emotional effect over the target audiences. In other words, it has several attention grabbing effects due to which the audiences tend to prefer the humorous element of the messages being delivered to persuade them.

Risks of Humour Use

There are several risks of using humour in persuasion. These can be discussed  by assignment help experts as follow:

Demographic effect: Humour use in persuasion is limited or varies as per the gender, age and ethnicity of target audiences. So, there is a risk that same humour content is perceived funny by different audiences belongs to different demographic background. It shows that humour does not carry norms of cultural differences effectively in its persuasion (Yeshin, 2005).

Product Specific: Humour contents are appropriate in low involvement product. So, it can be said that using humour in high involvement product is risky for the marketers.


Lack of Positive Attitude: Humour use in persuasion only gets success, if the target audiences have positive attitude in relation to the brand or product, otherwise it is not effective.

Multiple Exposures: If the target audiences are exposed multiple times towards the humour based advertisements, jokes are stopped to be perceived as being funny.

Theories of Persuasion

There are various theories developed on persuasion. Following are theories of persuasion.

Cognitive Dissonance Theory: According to this theory of persuasion, dissonance is a motivational theory. Dissonance generates beliefs, lasting attitude, behavior change etc. In other words, cognitive inconsistency with proper magnitude invokes an aversive motivational condition that both cognitive as well as behavioral changes.

Language Expectancy Theory: According to language expectancy theory, message, source and receiver variables impact persuasiveness of message. It is also known as message centered theory of persuasion that explains the linguistic effects of message on persuasion. It states that language formats used in message persuasion are responsible for the outcomes of persuasion. As per this theory of persuasion, language can be defined as ruled governing system. In other words, it stated that human beings form macro sociological preferences and perceptions in related to the language strategies used by other people in an attempt to persuade (Pfau & Dillard, 2002). The expectations and preferences developed by people are the function of cultural and sociological norms.

Inoculation Construct Theory: As per this theory, two sided messages are more effective as compared to one sided messages to develop sustained opinion change in receivers, who encounter counter arguments. It states that two sided message inoculate against attitude change.

Impact of Humour on Persuasion

Following are several techniques that can support persuasion effectiveness:

Peripheral Processing: Humour can support persuasion effectiveness by acting as a peripheral cue for the audiences that increase its effectiveness.

Classical Conditioning: With classical conditioning, humour can enhance the effectiveness of persuasion through developing positive feeling in relation to the message subject of product or services (Collins. & O’Rourke, 2008).

Apart from this, there are several techniques through which humour can limit the effectiveness of persuasion. These can be discussed as follow:

Use of Shock Appeals: In shock appeals, humour can act as a distraction for the audiences. Due to shock appeals, audiences remember the humour part of the message and forget real message. Furthermore, if the shock appeal is too shocking beyond the comfort zone of audiences, it can result offensive appeal for the audiences that can be dismissed by them.

Use of Serious Message: Use of humour in persuasion by showing serious message can sometime be seen inappropriate by the audiences. As a result of this, the message intent is not delivered to the audiences and they interpret it wrongly, which limits persuasion effectiveness.

Use of Flat Message: If the humour appeal used in persuasion is not funny enough or fail to deliver its humour content effectively, it can damage the credibility of the message and become irritating for the audience.


It can be inferred that humour plays a great role in persuasion effectiveness by building rapport, encouraging bond of target market with message, developing positive feeling and distracting from counter arguments. If not used wisely and properly in message content, humour can also limit the effectiveness of persuasion.




Collins, S.D. & O’Rourke, J.S. (2008). Persuasion. (2nd ed.). Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.

Hargie et al, O. (2009). Skilled Interpersonal Communication: Research, Theory and Practice. (2nd ed.). Taylor & Francis.

Martin, R.A. (2007). The Psychology of Humor: An Integrative Approach. London: Academic Press.

Pfau, M. & Dillard, J.P. (2002). The Persuasion Handbook: Developments in Theory and Practice. USA: SAGE.

Yeshin, T. (2005). Advertising. Cengage Learning EMEA.

Please e-mail us your assignment and get best and original business essay assignment help from our assignment experts